Runway 7R-25L renamed 8R-26L and 7L-25R to 8L-26R
Long Beach Airport (LGB) redesignated two of its runways to account for natural shifts in the earth’s magnetic field. Effective July 19, Runway 7R-25L is named 8R-26L, and Runway 7L-25R is named 8L-26R. The former is used primarily for general aviation, the latter is LGB’s secondary runway used for commercial and general aviation.
“This is a fairly rare event,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Aerial photographs confirmed the former runway designations were in place for at least 66 years. It may very well be the first time that Long Beach runways have been re-named since they were established.
Runway numbers are based on magnetic headings. For example, the runways are known as 8-26 because they face 80 degrees on a compass in one direction and 260 degrees in the opposite direction. Since these are parallel runways at Long Beach Airport, they are marked Left and Right appropriately. Pilots and air traffic controllers rely on navigational aids and flight procedures that are based on magnetic heading to find their takeoff and landing runways.
“Runway markings are crucial to airport safety,” said Airport Director Jess Romo, “It takes a tremendous amount of coordination for this undertaking. Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved—our airport facilities, operations and engineering teams, our construction partners, and the FAA—the overnight transition ran smoothly.”
Redesignation construction required extensive coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure that the event aligned with the publication of the U.S. Terminal Procedures and Airport Diagram. This is critical to aircraft safety because it ensures that the information provided to pilots is consistent with what is physically in place. Crews worked five consecutive nights while the runways were temporarily closed to update pavement markings and electrical signage to reflect the new runway designations. HNTB Corporation was the designer for the project and All American Asphalt was the general contractor. Jacobs Engineering served as the construction manager.
Both runways officially changed names on Thursday, July 19, 2018, at 12:00 a.m.; but only Runway 8L-26R, the north runway, is open to aviation traffic. Runway 8R-26L remains closed as reconstruction to improve pilot safety and pavement conditions continues.
The construction cost to rename the runways is approximately $45,000. Both the redesignation process and the reconstruction of Runway 8R-26L were funded through an FAA grant approved by Long Beach City Council last year. The following is a link to a related press release: http://www.longbeach.gov/press-releases/long-beach-airport-awarded-$15-3-million-grant-to-upgrade-and-rename-runways/.